Permission has been granted to create a street food and start-up business hub on the derelict Reynards garage site on Piccadilly in York City Centre. Spark:York is the vision of three local social entrepreneurs, who aim to share their experiences of travel, food, socialising and working to create the ultimate, inclusive space in the heart of York.

Spark:York will offer the perfect space to meet friends, eat, drink and socialise in a communal space in the heart of the City. Spark will strengthen York’s early evening offer, by providing somewhere for the after-work crowd through the week, or for people looking to relax on a weekend. We’ve visited similar places across Europe and are really excited to bring this experience to York.

Spark Director, Tom McKenzie

Spark:York will consist of upcycled shipping containers, arranged over two levels, designed and aesthetically developed by local York residents, James and Clare Palmer, who were the co-creators of the Adventures of Stockeld Park, near Wetherby. They are working alongside award-winning architect Carl Turner, who featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, and has previously created similar schemes in London.

The Reynards garage site is part of the Council’s wider Southern Gateway project, and Spark:York offers an opportunity to bring vitality and vision to a neglected area of the City, with huge potential.

York is full of talented and visionary people. We are creating an affordable and inclusive space in the middle of town that will create opportunities for local people to realise their ambition. Whether it’s a local chef with a unique culinary idea, a budding retailer who can’t afford a space in town, or a volunteer who wants to take their charitable ideas to the next level; we aim to be the Spark that starts their journey.

Spark:York Director, Joe Gardham

Included within Spark:York will be 24 independent, local businesses and entrepreneurs, including:

  • Street food kiosks – unique street food not found elsewhere in the City
  • Beverage kiosks – serving alcohol and non-alcohol based drinks, tapping into the early evening, European-style way of drinking and socialising
  • Retail – selling unique products from small, independent retailers
  • Shared workspace – a Hub for socially-minded local start-ups, charities and entrepreneurs, providing hands-on support to help ideas flourish
  • Meeting / teaching space – a quiet, private space for meetings or classroom-type events
  • Stage and performance area – providing a platform for performing arts and a regular programme of events and activities for York residents
  • Public workspace – free wi-fi and desk space accessible to Digital Nomads or people needing a couple of hours’ space in the City Centre.

Spark:York received nearly 200 applications from local people who want to be involved in the project. All of the successful businesses are socially-minded and want to work with similar organisations, helping to support the local community through their work.

Our vision is to offer York residents sounds, smells, tastes and sights that they haven’t experienced in York before; whilst supporting good causes and improving lives across the city. We have seen how these schemes have transformed spaces across Europe, and we are creating the first of its kind in Northern England.

Spark:York Director, Sam Leach

Spark:York aims to open in 2018. All our units have now been allocated, but you can register an interest here for future vacancies, or email info@sparkyork.com

To keep up to date with developments, follow Spark:York on Twitter and Facebook.